The Visegrád Group stands by EU’s West Balkan enlargement
The Visegrad Group (V4) supports European Union enlargement with the integration of the Western Balkan states, as well as efforts to strengthen the bloc’s common foreign and security policy, Zsolt Németh, (Fidesz) head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said on Thursday.
Speaking after a meeting of the foreign affairs committees of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, Németh told a press conference that the situation in the Western Balkans is a priority.
“Europe cannot be whole” without these countries joining the EU, he said.
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, has said the first states of the region will join the bloc in 2025, Németh noted. Hopefully, as many countries as possible will have fulfilled the preconditions of accession by then, he said. The V4 group is committed to the reunification of Europe, because that process has brought about their own accession to the EU and NATO, Németh said. Enlargement encompassing the Western Balkans also provides economic and security policy opportunities for the EU, and especially for central Europe, he said.
Németh said the EU’s common foreign and security policy should focus on protecting the external borders and the central European region.
Special attention should be given to the countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership in forming this policy, which should be implemented in accordance with NATO, Németh said.
Frantisek Sebej, head of the Slovak committee, said that the joint statement signed at the meeting showed the V4’s near-complete agreement on the issues.
Tomasz Grodzki, head of the Polish committee, praised the consensus and efficacy of V4 cooperation on the issues discussed at the meeting.
The accession process for the Western Balkan countries may be slow and difficult but it will be doubtless successful, he said.
Czech committee head Karel Schwarzenberg said that it was a priority of the V4 countries to bring the Western Balkan region and the EU nearer to each other.
The delegations of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania also attended the meeting.
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